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Mobile carriers open 5G phone presales today

Apr 01,2019

Presales of the world’s first 5G phone begin today.

SK Telecom and LG U+ said in a press release Sunday that they will begin taking preorders of Samsung Electronics’ Galaxy S10 5G from today, before the phone’s scheduled launch on Friday. The carriers did not reveal the price tag of the phone in advance, but industry sources said Sunday the phone’s store price will be 1,397,000 won ($1,229) for the 256 gigabyte model. A larger 512 gigabyte model is expected to cost 1,556,500 won.

Samsung previously said there will be no presales for the phone, but it’s likely the mobile carriers decided to secure as many devices as possible anyway to try and attract early adopters ahead of competitors. KT did not make an announcement on Sunday, but is also expected to begin taking preorders soon.

Before presales begin, the carriers fixed their 5G phone plans and prices last week. LG U+ was the earliest to unveil its prices to the public on Friday.

LG U+ opened up three phone plans, with the cheapest plan, dubbed 5G Light, beginning from 55,000 won per month. The plan offers 9 gigabytes of data per month at 5G speeds and then slows down. The 5G Standard plan that offers 150 gigabytes of data costs 75,000 won and a higher-class 5G Premium plan that offers 250 gigabytes of data costs 95,000 won.

The highlight of the carrier’s phone plan is the aggressive marketing plan it introduced. It said it will let subscribers of the 5G Premium plan use the plan at a monthly cost of 66,000 won for 24 months, if they choose to get a 25-percent discount on monthly mobile phone plans instead of a lump-sum discount after purchasing the new 5G phone.

The carrier is also offering 1,000 gigabytes of high-speed data every month until the end of this year, instead of 250 gigabytes. To benefit from the promotions, customers need to subscribe to the plan before the end of June.

Such aggressive marketing comes as LG U+ aims to turn around the mobile carrier rankings in the local market entering the 5G era. The company is currently the smallest carrier, following SK Telecom and KT.

“We have been very careful with our preparations to make sure we can shake up the existing telecommunications market and lead the 5G era,” said LG U+ CEO Ha Hyun-hwoi during an internal event held Friday to commemorate the commercial launch of 5G services due to take place later this week. “We have secured a competitive edge in three major areas — network quality, 5G services, and phone plan prices — for a landslide victory [in the 5G battle].”

Other carriers are expected to introduce their phone plans in the coming few of days.

While Samsung will take the title of launching the world’s first 5G phone, local rival LG Electronics is also finalizing preparations to launch its own 5G phone later this month.

On Sunday, the company announced it will launch the 5G-available LG V50 ThinQ in the local market on April 19 with a price tag of 1,199,000 won. The electronics giant is hoping more-affordable 5G phones can be an answer to its dwindling performances in the smartphone business. The company said offering its 5G phone at less than 1.2 million won has been very difficult considering the devices are pricier to make than 4G phones due to upgraded parts, including modems, antennae and batteries.

BY KIM JEE-HEE [kim.jeehee@joongang.co.kr]